I'll just say it.
Us (not so) wicked stepmothers, or stepmothers in training, have a perspective on the children in our charge that parents don't have. Our perspective is similar to that of teachers, caregivers, long-suffering library assistants, waitstaff, and other people that your kid comes in contact with daily.
He might be charming and super smart and funny and all that jazz. . . but sometimes, your kid is a jerk.
We can see that in a way you can't but it doesn't mean we love them any less. It doesn't mean we don't recognize their genius, or their personality, or their style. It just means we don't think it's cute when someone has their cranky pants on.
This falls under the category of things that usually shouldn't be said. But, well, twenty years from now who wants to be giving the "he was such a nice boy" interview?
Not me. I draw a line at disciplining Little Bit physically . . . but I do advocate for it when his behavior warrants it. Running away in a parking lots or in crowded malls. Somebody needs a spanking. Hitting, kicking or pushing Grandma or Grandpa. Someone needs a time out, a talking to, and if he does it again, a taste of his own medicine.
I do, however, exercise my right to use time out as often as necessary. I don't draw a hard line, but my line is probably a little more rigid than his mother's. What do I expect from my four year old Litle Bit? I expect him to respect his possessions. I expect him to be considerate of his grandparents. I expect him to listen to what we say. I expect him to respect us. (I also expect him to pee in the potty and all that but that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish.) He can do that and if he chooses not to while visiting, he has to face the consequences.
I understand that it's probably easier for me. I don't feel particularly burdened with an overwhelming need or desire to make sure Little Bit likes me. Part of that is because I'm lucky that he's a toddler and not overly suspicious or mistrustful of people. More to the point though, I don't think he has to like me. He doesn't have to love me. He's cool with me right now, but . . . he's four. That will probably change.
And that's fine. In the meantime though, I won't be participating in raising a criminal mastermind.